Prelude to the fact that I never update my blog:
Once I wanted to be a writer. But also, a teacher. Somehow, these two very time consuming career paths did not cross. In my day dreams about the future, I was able to complete each of them with fervor and passion and fame. As I age, I cannot seem to remember how to be a writer. I have had this blog for nearly five years, and I write less and less. I am, however, becoming a better teacher every day. Not wanting to give up the writing, I must reframe what it means in my life. Perhaps more essays and less poetry. Perhaps a dedicated writing time with Lora. Perhaps goal setting, perhaps focused writing projects, perhaps perhaps perhaps. My mind swirls with over-analytical ideas. Just sit down and write, dammit.
I am too hard on myself.
This is generally the time of year when we are all depressed and stir-crazy and self-conscious and grinding along day to day until the next time we see the sun. Many people around me seem to be moving in this sluggish haze.
January, her long nights and dark days, is taking souls, crumpling them up, and letting them sort themselves out. I know this happens each year, but maybe this is the first time I feel strong enough to make awareness of my psyche and control over my emotions a priority. I only wish I could help loved ones do the same. I happen to love this time of year, but there is a certain weight that exists with the dark and the snow and the sadness of the bodies surrounding me.
I want to help. But I don’t know that I can. I know that I try, over and over. Misguidedly, abrasively, nonchalantly, facetiously (to be hard on myself). With deep amounts of care and allegiance to other humans (to be gracious to myself). Ultimately, some of us will just have to wait to emerge from this month and try to regain what we have lost.
There was an article in the paper last Sunday about Sister Antonia, the nun who spearheaded the efforts to build Our Lady of Victory Chapel at St. Catherine’s University.
I am not a religious woman, but I did love this story for many reasons. The most striking element of the article was the personality of Sister Antonia, who I identified with in terms of her frankness in a time when women’s expectations were much different. One nun spoke of her with the following description:
“Her outspokenness was proverbial. Her frankness was of a nature to abash those who were not lovers of the truth.”
This is who I feel I am, as well. But there does exist a certain tact, one I can only presume that Sister Antonia had, that I am still refining for myself, with age. Time passes and I become grounded in what matters and remember that everyone is just trying to get through. I am thankful for the people who love me as I learn these things.
2016 was a beautiful year. The best of my life. I moved in with Alex, which was a strange experience (because cohabitation is weird), but I am so happy in our little house that feels the most like home since I left my parents. My brother got married to my new sister-in-law, and I am so endlessly thankful to have a sister.My best friend got married and bought a house just a mile away from me, and her happiness has brought me so much joy. So many of my students graduated, and their aspirations inspire me every day. A thousand beautiful things happened. I don’t mind bragging about it. My path has been paved with tragedy over and over again, and I feel confident that it is time to enjoy the beauty of life that only perspective can bring.
But this extra strength I have. It is for the people in my life who need it. It may not always come with the most diplomatic and gracious attitude. Please forgive me, because I am still working on that. But my heart is good and I wish to be a positive force in the world. The one that I was always supposed to be.
And remember that this winter does not last forever. Today, as the snow tucks us in with a new blanket, look at its beauty and remember: “Between stimulus [action] and response [reaction] there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” -Victor Frankl